Saturday, 4 August 2007

Christmas in July Report

Thanks to all of you for hearing my call for help and taking the time to e-mail me and commenting on my previous post. I knew that I could count on your support. :-)

Many of you have also been very curious about what happened at the party last Saturday. So I feel that it is my duty to write a report on the party. In my excitement, I forgot to take photos of the food. Fortunately, I my dear friends who were concerned about capturing some food photos for my blog snapped a few shots. Thanks to Nadia for taking the food photos below. I do regret not taking a photo of the massive turkey that we had. My nephew would have enjoyed the photo because he loved that Mr Bean episode when he got his head stuck in a very large turkey.

The Menu
(notes or variations of recipes in brackets)

David Lebovitz's Buckwheat Crepes with various fillings by Eva
(Eva reduced the sugar to one tsp. The recipe yeilded about 14 crepes, not 18-20)

Roasted Turkey
(The turkey was marinated with crushed garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary (fresh), coriander (fresh), tumeric, paprika, lemon juice and olive oil. I roasted it according to these instructions)
Creamy Potato Bake
Warm Zucchini, Tomato & Eggplant Salad
Spiced Prawns with Green Beans and Red capsicum
Balsamic Roasted Dutch Carrots and Baby Onions

(I tossed in some fresh sage just before serving it, as suggested by Rose)
Cranberry Sauce (store bought)
Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Poached Bosc Pears served with mixed berries sauce and Chocolate Truffle Stars.
(I added a cup of frozen mixed berries in the poaching liquid. When the pears were tender, I removed them and reduced the sauce. Plating: Place a dollop of freshly whipped cream on the plate, place the pear on it. Pour 2 tbsp of the berry sauce over the pear. Place one big and one small choc truffle stars and dust icing sugar over them.)

Unfortunately, we couldn't find any frozen cranberries. I would have loved to have made this:
Veronica's Cranberry Salsa

Due to my inexperience in roasting turkey and planning my time around that, I actually had to leave out two items because the turkey took 4.5 hours to cook and took up all the space in the oven:
Heidi's Sage, Walnut and dried Fig Stuffing
Valli's Sweet Potato Studel with Balsamic Mushroom Sauce

Enough talk ;-) Here are a few photos from the party last Saturday:

Some of the happy Christmas elves....
Christmas Wreathe pinyada that Rom brought. I've seen pinyada for birthday parties but this is the first time I heard of such a thing for Christmas. It was a lot of fun! We had to do this outdoors so luckily T made some German hot spiced wine (Gluhwein).
Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions, recipes and moral support. I really enjoyed planning and preparing the meal. Thanks also to Quikong and my dear friends who shared this very memorable and wonderful evening with me.


Eva said...

Hmmm, getting hungry again when I see all these goodies... Thanks again for a wonderful evening!

Lydia said...

What a wonderful feast!

Valli said...

Truly a memorable feast!!! Good friends, good food, good times....Merry Christmas in July!!!! I didn't know we had any traditions in our household until my daughter requested one year that we had to go back to having Cheese Fondue and Chocolate Fondue for our Christmas Eve celebrations.
PS Thanks for comenting on my last post. We have a town called Cherryville if that helps.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

What a fun evening and lovely memories for you all. I hope you do it every year. It makes me wish we'd done something for Mid Summer's Day. There I go again.... any excuse for a party!

katiez said...

Belated Merry Christmas in July!
Great menu - and it looks lake a fantastic party... that's what Christmas is all about, right - Food, Family and Friends!

Aimée said...

What fun! Everything looks delicious.

Nora B. said...

Eva - yes it was such a terrific night. You guys are so much fun tove around. Thanks again for making the yummy entree. I would like to try making the crepes myself.

Lydia - yes it was a good feast and it was enough food even though I didn't make two of the planned items.

Valli - thanks again for your recipe of the studel. It would have been served that night except I didn't have time to bake it due to the turkey. I made it the next day and it was delicious! And it looks so elegant too. Fondue is a great tradition to have. I don't do fondue when there are more than 6 people coming, esp if they are also drinking because the choc might end up on my carpet. I'm getting better at creating menus that are 'safe" for my carpet. ;-)

Amanda - I say any excuse for a party too! Mid Summer's Day party...hhmm...I'll have to remember that when summer comes around. ;-)

Katiez - Thanks! You're right, it is about sharing the meal with our friends and family.

Aimée - Yes, it was heaps of fun.

Rose said...

My dear Nora. Your july christmas sure looks like a lot of fun..but where is then santa?
What a feast you have here. I am craving you poached pears...Miammiamiam!
So Merry christmas to you Nora with lots of happiness and many yummy dishes, but for this I am sure that with you around there will be plenty.

Kelly-Jane said...

I've got a big grin, I love the idea of Christmas in July! Looks fab :) :)

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

How silly of me. Of course mid summer for you probably is Christmas. For us it's in the middle of Winter.

Em said...

Looks fabulous! Who managed to break the pinata, and what had you put in it?

veron said...

What a feast Nora! Can I come next time ;).

Em said...

Oh, and can I have the best recipe for spiced wine if you have it?

Nora B. said...

Dear Rose, thanks for all your help. It was such a fun night. I love having my friends over, esp since I don't have any family in Australia. I am craving the poached pears too, it was so easy to make yet so devine.
p/s: There were actually 9 "Santas" since we played Secret Santa (everyone had to bring a gift). I received a freshly made bread, Verjus and pink peppercorns. The perfect gift for a foodie :-)

Hi Kelly-Jane, I smile too when I think about the good time we had that night. Can't wait for the real Christmas. :-)

Amanda, don't worry about that, most people forget about the reverse seasons that we experience down under.

Veronica, of course you would've been invited if you were in the area, but you'll have to bring your crnberry salsa. ;-)

Em, Rom brought the pinyada so she stuffed it with lots of lollies and other goodies and also the person who managed to break it (Quikong) got the special gift (very cute socks, which I hope to inherit..heh heh). You can e-mail Eva for the German mulled wine recipe since she & T brought the recipe and made it.

Kristen said...

It looks like a fun time was had by all. I love this idea!

Truffle said...

I have been eagerly awaiting your report and this certainly surpassed my expectations. What a fabulous feast! You should be so proud.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Wow, Nora!! There is some seriously delicious food here!
Everything looks fingerlicking, but the truffle starts won my heart. ;)

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Nora, I've given you a couple of well deserved awards, the gongs are on my blog.

Tartelette said...

Great party! It is so much fun to see a Christmas menu in july-august!

Nora B. said...

Kristen, it's a lot of fun. I'll definitely do this again next year.

Truffles, thanks so much! Most importantly is that everyone had a great time.

Patricia, thank you. The stars are very cute. It was a bit tricky to cut them out though, but the result is worth it.

Amanda, wow, thank you! Heading over now to have a look...

Tartelette, thanks for dropping by. We do crazy things in Oz ;-)

Susan said...

Well done, Nora! What a spread! Looks like the Feast of July! Your menu was so rich and varied. Exhausted after it's done? We take a long walk in the cold after all the feeding is over; it clears the head, refreshes the lungs, and gets you ready for all...that...clean-up! : )

healy said...

First time here. Christmas in July? *Puzzled*. However, I'm so hungry now... need some delicious stuffs like those in your post! Mmm... Yummy! :)

tigerfish said...

I would love some poached pear dessert now...does not need to be Christmas :D

Oh for the love of food! said...

What a FABULOUS Feast, Nora! Well done, and you were worried for nothing. :o) I'm sure your guests enjoyed themselves immensely. I love the Pinata idea too!

valentinA said...

What a successful feast Nora! great job!

Janet said...

Looks like you had a lot of fun and ate a lot of good food! Christmas in July is a fantastic idea!

Nora B. said...

Hi Susan, yes it was quite a feast. I didn't have much clean up to do because everyone helped out. A walk would have been a good idea, but there was no way that I would have been able to persuade anyone to leave their vino and get off the couch and into the cold. ;-)

Hi Healy, welcome! It's understandable that you would be confused. Have a look at my previous post which explains why I am having such a party.

Tigerfish, I agree. Poached pear should be an all year round dessert :-)

Dear Carol, thank you! I changed my mind about making sticky date pudding instead because I felt an overwhelming pressure (from my partner!) to include a bit of choc in the dessert somehow. I even entertained making two desserts, because I still haven't fed my sticky date pudding craving! I should make it before the weather gets warmer...

Valentina, thank you!

Janet, it was heaps of fun. Even the part when I had to prepare the turkey (never done that before and it was HUGE).

Wendy said...

This looks like fun! And what a fantastic spread you put on. Well done you!!!
I'm going ski-ing over Christmas this year but was so disappointed that I could make Christmas dinner for everyone that we are having a pre=Christmas Christmas earlier in December! :)

Toni said...

What a great feast! I love the variety of foods. Never thought about the Christmas in July idea for the southern hemisphere, but of course!

lynn said...

What fun!

Stephen said...

Looks like you had a good time. The food sounds great!

Valli said...

Hey Nora,
Thanks for commenting on my blog about the watermelon. When I was younger my friends and I used to cut a hole in the watermelon and just fill it up with liguor. The watermelon is quite porous and just absorbs it. We'd leave it a bit and then slice it up. Go figure.

Nora B. said...

Hi Wendy, I love that photo of you with the Snowman! very cool! I'm so envious that you are going skiing, that would be so much fun. And pre-Christmas Christmas dinner would still be fun. :-)

Hi Toni, we wouldn't want to miss out on all the good winter Christmas food... ;-)

Lynn & Stephen, yes, it was a really fun night. :-) I love having a friends over.

Valli, oh yes, I recall my friend doing that once with vodka too. :-)